It seems like a month since the Gladney group left Colombia. The trip was so inspiring and so motivating the Gladney Colombia adoption team has been working nonstop to advocate for the precious children we met at San Mauricio as well as other children in Colombia who do not have a family.
First we celebrated July 20, Independence Day, by watching the military parade on TV and then going to Usaquen and Parque 93 to walk around and try all sorts of traditional Colombian foods. By far my favorite was a restaurant that served all entrees made with plantains. I had cheese wrapped in a sweet plantain with cheese sauce topped with cheese. :) Colombians don't celebrate their independence day quite like we do in the United States. In fact, I was probably one of the only people dressed in my Colombia shirt with a yellow/red/blue head band. It seemed like just another weekend for most people.
Monday was a day of rest. Unfortunately the long days, cold weather, and lack of sleep led to a nasty cold. I stayed in bed all day to recuperate from the previous week and to catch up on emails.
Today was back to work as normal. I shadowed a staff person, Diana Duenas, at Casa de la Madre y el Nino all day and met more amazing children who asked me, "Is it my turn to have a family?" Diana facilitates the Skype calls between the adoptive parents and the child(ren) before the parents travel to finalize the adoption. The kids all want to work with Diana because they know it means they are going to have a family very soon. It's heart breaking to see their beautiful faces and big smiles when we enter the room when I know that they have not yet been legally declared available for adoption or that they have a very difficult situation and it's unlikely they will have a family any time soon.
There were two specific sibling groups that Diana introduced me to: 2 sisters 10 and 12 and 4 siblings ages 12, 11, 8, and 5. I have had their files for several weeks, but have not yet been able to find a family for them. The institution has began talking about splitting the 4 siblings into two groups of two so that they have a greater chance of being adopted by two families. The psychologist has already met with the 12 year old boy to explain the situation. He understood that as a group of 4 they will not have a family and has agreed to the separation. Can I tell you how my heart aches for him? I too am from a sibling group of 4. I'll admit there were times growing up that I wish I could have voted out one of my siblings, but I can't imagine my life without them and have no idea what I would have said if someone asked me if I would agree to be separated from them. I agree that placing the children into two families, hopefully in the same city or at least the same state, is in their best interest so that they will all have a family, but it is still a tough decision to make.
Meeting the kids in person is very different then reading through a file. All of the kids are intelligent, affectionate, so thoughtful, and so full of hope. The oldest girl presented me with a birthday card they had made. How can I go home to my big house in Texas with my reliable car, refrigerator full of food, and comfortable office at Gladney and not think about these children who have nothing but their sibling? Of course all of the children are well cared for at the institution, but it in no way compares to having a Mom and Dad.
Have you ever considered adopting an older child or a sibling group? Could you take a week out of your busy schedule to come to Bogota and invest your time in these children? For more information on adoption contact Judy Hayes at Judy.Hayes@gladney.org . For information on volunteering at Gladney contact firstname.lastname@example.org